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These savory waffles with cheddar and chives work equally well for breakfast, brunch or dinner. Top with a fried egg and a dollop of sour cream for a truly excellent meal.

Savory Waffles with Cheddar and Chives 780 | Umami Girl-2
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Waffle…everything?

Growing up, we were team pancakes and didn’t own a waffle iron. I never minded. I didn’t give it much thought until several years ago, when people were suddenly waffling everything from mac and cheese to pizza.

Americans can ruin anything, right? And yet still make you kinda desperately want the thing we ruined? It’s a barf-emoji-face/heart-eyes-emoji face vicious cycle.

Savory waffles are a game-changer

I don’t have the time or the emotional energy to try to fix that nonsense right now.

But I did get a waffle iron.

And of course, being a true lover of umami, I’m sharing a savory waffles recipe before a sweet one. Cheddar, chives, cornmeal, buttermilk. Go ahead and try to argue with that.

My daughter tried to argue with it, actually. She prefers whipped cream and syrup and vanilla-scented sweetness. Last night, when I told the kids what I planned to make for dinner, she said, “Those aren’t exactly my favorite waffles.”

So I said, “I bet they’re your favorite waffles that I’m going to make tonight.

Cashed in the Mom card. Suck it, sweet waffles. (And basically everything today, can you tell?)

Why we LOVE this recipe

Anyhoo.

The brilliant crispness of these waffles (which emerges after a quick stint in a low oven) is due to the cornstarch. I first learned this trick from Donna Hay and eventually developed this recipe with some heavy adaptations from Pamela Anderson’s waffles in Fine Cooking. (No, not that Pamela Anderson.)

We love these waffles because they make an incredible breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner. They make the house smell amazing. They’re loaded with flavor and somehow also with comfort. They welcome a fried egg on top and a dollop of sour cream if you like. And they just make you happy. How’s that?

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.

ingredients in bowls
  • A combination of all-purpose flour and cornmeal creates a savory, flavorful base for the batter. It’s the perfect combination of lightness and heft. The brand of cornmeal you use will have some effect on the texture, since some brands are ground more coarsely than others. I developed the recipe with regular yellow cornmeal from the supermarket, which is fairly finely ground. You can use whatever you’ve got.
  • Adding some cornstarch keeps the waffles crisp and light despite their roster of substantial mix-ins.
  • A combination of baking soda and baking powder creates just the right, even rise, gentle browning, and combination with the buttermilk. As in all baked goods, don’t confuse them or alter the ratio.
  • Buttermilk makes a tender crumb and contributes acidity to the batter. It’s an important active ingredient in these waffles. That said, if you don’t have it, you can substitute with two cups whole milk plus two tablespoons apple cider vinegar.
  • Here and virtually everywhere, I start with a cultured, salted butter from grass-fed cows. This sounds fancy but doesn’t have to be. Kerrygold, for example, is sold in most supermarkets at a reasonable price.
  • Extra-sharp cheddar melts well but still packs a super-savory, creamy punch. Shred it on the large holes of a box grater. You can experiment with other cheeses that have similar properties if you like.
  • I love minced fresh chives for their delicate flavor and texture and the pop of color they add. They’re so easy to work with.

How to make it

Here’s an overview of what you’ll do to make a fabulous batch of savory waffles with cheddar and chives. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.

step by step
  1. First you’ll stir together the dry ingredients until well-combined.
  2. In a bowl or glass measuring cup, you’ll beat together the buttermilk and eggs, then add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir gently but thoroughly.
  3. Stir in the melted butter, and then shredded cheddar and minced chives.
  4. Cook the batter in batches in your preheated waffle iron until the waffles are golden brown, then pop them into a low oven directly on the rack for a couple of minutes to crisp them up a little extra on the outsides if you like. That’s it!

Add-ins and substitutions

I think these waffles are perfection the way they are. But you can have a little fun with your own variations if you like. You could:

  • Add a minced shallot to the batter
  • Swap out the cheddar cheese for Gruyere or smoked gouda
  • Stir cooked, crumbled bacon into the batter
  • Top them with smoked salmon

Expert tips and FAQs

What waffle iron should I use?

I don’t take the buying of single-purpose kitchen tools lightly, but we could not be happier with our waffle iron. We’ve had for quite a few years now, and I’m still as madly in love as ever. That said, this recipe will work in any waffle iron!

What can I do with leftover buttermilk?

Here are some more great ways to use it: cornbread muffinszucchini cheddar breadchocolate cakeglazed donutsbaked apple cider donuts.

Can I make this recipe in advance? What about leftovers?

You can! Let’s say you’re hosting a big brunch and want to make a whole bunch of these waffles ahead of time. Or maybe you want a workweek’s worth of quick but fabulous breakfasts or dinners. You got it!

Make the waffles and simply reheat and recrisp them either in the oven at 200°F (for a big batch) or in the toaster oven for a single serving.

Or freeze them for up to a year, if you like. Reheat at 350°F in the oven or toaster oven, straight from the freezer.

What to serve with them

If you like, try these waffles with:

fried-egg topped waffles on a white plate against a blue wood background

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Savory Waffles with Cheddar and Chives 780 | Umami Girl-2
4.52 from 211 votes

Savory Waffles with Cheddar and Chives

By Carolyn
It's a true testament to my umami love that these savory waffles are the first waffle recipe I've ever posted. They make a wonderful breakfast or brunch but are equally good for dinner. Top each serving with a fried egg and serve with a dollop of sour cream if you like. This recipe makes eight or nine waffles in my waffle iron, which takes 1/2 cup batter per waffle, but your mileage may vary.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
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Ingredients 

  • 1 cup (120 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (70 grams) yellow cornmeal
  • ¼ cup (28 grams) cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups (475 ml) buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons (56 grams) butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 3 ounces (84 grams) extra-sharp cheddar, shredded
  • cup minced fresh chives

Instructions 

  • In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour, corn meal, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pepper.
  • In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk and eggs.
  • Pour into bowl with dry ingredients and mix gently but thoroughly.
  • Pour in the melted butter and stir to incorporate.
  • Then stir in the cheddar and chives.
  • Preheat oven to 200°F with a rack in the center.
  • Preheat waffle iron to medium or medium-dark setting. (Waffle irons vary tremendously, so you may have to experiment a little.)
  • Pour in as much batter as your waffle iron's instructions recommend and cook until golden.
  • Gently remove each waffle from iron and place directly on oven rack. The waffles will still be slightly soft when they come out of the iron but will crisp up on the outside and stay tender on the inside while they rest in the oven.
  • When all waffles are cooked and have had a couple of minutes in the oven, serve with fried eggs on top and a dollop of sour cream if you like.

Notes

  1. A combination of all-purpose flour and cornmeal creates a savory, flavorful base for the batter. It's the perfect combination of lightness and heft. The brand of cornmeal you use will have some effect on the texture, since some brands are ground more coarsely than others. I developed the recipe with regular yellow cornmeal from the supermarket, which is fairly finely ground. You can use whatever you've got.
  2. Adding some cornstarch keeps the waffles crisp and light despite their roster of substantial mix-ins.
  3. A combination of baking soda and baking powder creates just the right, even rise, gentle browning, and combination with the buttermilk. As in all baked goods, don't confuse them or alter the ratio.
  4. Buttermilk makes a tender crumb and contributes acidity to the batter. It’s an important active ingredient in these waffles. That said, if you don’t have it, you can substitute with two cups whole milk plus two tablespoons apple cider vinegar.
  5. Here and virtually everywhere, I start with a cultured, salted butter from grass-fed cows. This sounds fancy but doesn't have to be. Kerrygold, for example, is sold in most supermarkets at a reasonable price.
  6. Extra-sharp cheddar melts well but still packs a super-savory, creamy punch. Shred it on the large holes of a box grater. You can experiment with other cheeses that have similar properties if you like.
  7. I love minced fresh chives for their delicate flavor and texture and the pop of color they add. They're so easy to work with.
  8. If you like, you can make the waffles in advance  and simply reheat and recrisp them either in the oven at 200°F (for a big batch) or in the toaster oven for a single serving. Or freeze them for up to a year, if you like. Reheat at 350°F in the oven or toaster oven, straight from the freezer.

Add-ins and substitutions

I think these waffles are perfection the way they are. But you can have a little fun with your own variations if you like. You could:
  • Add a minced shallot to the batter
  • Swap out the cheddar cheese for Gruyere or smoked gouda
  • Stir cooked, crumbled bacon into the batter
  • Top them with smoked salmon

Nutrition

Calories: 486kcal, Carbohydrates: 52.2g, Protein: 17.4g, Fat: 23g, Fiber: 2.4g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Breakfast and Brunch
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

Hungry for more?

Subscribe to Umami Girl’s email updates, and follow along on Instagram.

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Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

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Carolyn Gratzer Cope Bio Photo

About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

4.52 from 211 votes (211 ratings without comment)

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11 Comments

  1. Delicious! They smelled wonderful as they cooked in the waffle iron. I used them as a base for chicken & waffles and topped with an arugula salad. Can’t wait to use the leftovers for taco waffles! I see this becoming a favorite.

  2. I’m curious: Why do you use cornstarch in this recipe? What does it do for the batter/rise/texture? I rarely see it in my baking journeys

    1. Hi Deb, since these waffles have a lot of ingredients that could weigh them down a bit, cornstarch helps keep the texture light and a bit crisp.

  3. These were delicious! I added spinach to mine and dipped in honey. The perfect sweet & savory breakfast!

  4. I make these all the time, served alongside crispy chicken thighs. My friends request them regularly and they’re one of my fave go-tos. Thanks so much for this awesome recipe!

  5. These were tasty. I used masa harina since I didn’t have cornmeal and it turned out well. I feel like the salt could be cut back to 3/4 tsp. They were tricky to make in a vertical waffle iron; the cheese prevented the mixture from spreading evenly. After a bit of testing, I found the best method was to flip the waffle maker on its side, pour in the batter, help it spread evenly with a small rubber spatula, close the lid and flip the waffle maker back up. I got 4 1/2 large round waffles.

    1. Thanks, Sky! That’s a useful note about the waffle iron. I’ve never had a problem in mine, but (as you can see from the photos) it makes four smaller waffles at a time. I’m sure your tip will be helpful to anyone who has a similar kind to yours.

  6. These were so good! Like you, I much prefer savoury to sweet food, and loved these. Your suggestions for keeping them crisp were spot on and I will do this with waffles from now on. Thanks for a great recipe!